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As Coronavirus Restrictions Relax, Can Airbnb Get Back to Growth?

By Brian Withers, Brian Stoffel, and Toby Bordelon – Updated Jun 25, 2021 at 1:56PM

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Three longtime investors weigh in.

The pandemic has been a huge headwind for Airbnb (ABNB -1.52%) as travelers curtailed their activities and sheltered at home. But now as vaccines are rolling out across the world, more people are getting out of the house to go somewhere. Will this rent-out-your-home for vacationers' travel platform be the recipient of this pent-up demand? On a Fool Live episode recorded on May 26, Fool contributors Toby Bordelon, Brian Stoffel, and Brian Withers discuss whether traveling the Airbnb way is here to stay.

Brian Withers: I wanted to hit the Airbnb comment.

Toby Bordelon: Yeah, go for it.

Brian Withers: [viewer comment] "Airbnb will have a great current quarter. Everyplace I want to travel is booked full on Airbnb, revenge travel is unreal this year. Outdoorsy, Airbnb for RVs will be a great buy for them. RVs on Outdoorsy are also fully booked everywhere."

Tomorrow, I'm headed to Brevard, North Carolina. We booked on VRBO, which used to be HomeAway, and it was tough getting a place for the weekend because it's the holiday weekend and whatnot, but I'm seeing similar things.

Brian Stoffel: I agree with that. The whole reason that my family went last weekend instead of this upcoming weekend is because everything was taken and what wasn't, the prices were about twice as much. That tells you something right there.

Bordelon: I don't know how that's going to go. We're going away this weekend, too, and it wasn't that big a deal. We also booked a couple months ago, so I think before people have been fully vaccinated and started thinking like now I just start going everywhere we can go. It's going to be a big summer for them for sure. No doubt about that. We'll see if that continues. The key is if that continues into the fall, into the Christmas season, into next summer.

Stoffel: Of course. That's the question. Is this something that people are going to stick with, or is this something that's a flash in the pan? I think they'll stick with it because the growth was there before the pandemic. They were growing by leaps and bounds before the pandemic. I just think that it made them stronger, but I could be wrong. I'll say this. We travel. We don't travel a ton actually, considering we go live in Central America for part of the year, but we travel as a family. Since Airbnb started, I've stayed in a hotel only for weddings because it was at the hotel. But outside of that, I haven't. But that's just me. Anecdotal evidence can get you in trouble as an investor.

Withers: I actually think this is one of those things like Etsy has picked up a ton of customers throughout the coronavirus as people have gone on and tried it. I think Airbnb will be the same thing, is people will start to see the benefits of staying in somebody else's place. I remember when we first Lyft and Uber, why would I ride in somebody else's car, get into a car with a stranger? That's nuts.

Well, this is the same deal, and once you've done it a couple of times. I think it gives you more space, it gives you more options. It certainly as a family, we traveled with our family and our dog, it allows us to take our dog with us. It's just a great thing all around. I think that hotels will continue to be for business travelers, but this will be for reunions and people, families traveling and whatnot, will really gravitate toward the Airbnb way to travel.

Brian Stoffel owns shares of Airbnb, Inc. and Etsy. Brian Withers owns shares of Etsy. Toby Bordelon owns shares of Airbnb, Inc. and has the following options: short June 2021 $125 puts on Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Airbnb, Inc. and Etsy. The Motley Fool recommends Uber Technologies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Airbnb, Inc. Stock Quote
Airbnb, Inc.
ABNB
$105.04 (-1.52%) $-1.62
Uber Technologies, Inc. Stock Quote
Uber Technologies, Inc.
UBER
$26.50 (0.30%) $0.08
Etsy, Inc. Stock Quote
Etsy, Inc.
ETSY
$100.13 (-1.37%) $-1.39
Lyft, Inc. Stock Quote
Lyft, Inc.
LYFT
$13.17 (-2.30%) $0.31

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